As well known by other state in Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak are rich with the timber industries. It was no doubt that timber industry has contributed lots on Sarawak economy. The State Government of Sarawak even has created a leading agency on this rich industry, Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC), which has been proved to be success as a leading agency. The timber industries as well has born few if not a lots of Sarawakian millionaire. No doubt that this industry is really mega contributor to the developments of Sarawak.
However, timber industry also born a lot of timber thief, which damaged both the natural beauties and the public utilities. The illegal logging has become common till the public almost impossible to differentiate the legal and illegal. To say illegal, they are clearing the forest for plantation, which also will contribute to the state economy. As my earlier article on Malacca – The Malaysian World Heritage (Part 1), that is no point to let our people in purity but lives in poverty! So, actually the Government intention to develop the state land or empty land to commercial agriculture has no doubt will contribute to the state economy. And of course, the Sarawakian will enjoy the benefit from the development on surroundings. There is no point to built road to nowhere, except there is dividend and income from the built infrastructure. Plantation will as well help the scattered settlements in Sarawak at least connecting them by roads. In fact, in West Malaysia, the Plantation has grown for centuries. So for me to use the word "illegal" is not fair, and even I am not the right person to say that it is illegal!
I was driving in one major road in Sarawak when I saw a long queue up of overloaded logging trucks (I judge it from my naked eye). It was ten or more, which carried logs even can overturn the trucks itself on dangerous corner! So I start to predict there must be road block by an enforcement agency in front. I fastens my seat belt and reducing my speed which actually not only save my RM 300.00 on compound but also my life. Driving about one or two kilometers a head, yes, there is road block. No wonder that the logging trucks are waiting for the cblock learance! And there is a pick-up waiting about few hundred meters from the road block location which I suspect the contact lens for the logging trucks. And of course, after the road block end, they managed to bring the wealthy to their pocket. They can be patient on waiting.
It’s actually not a big impact to the public if they are following the rules and laws. There is some accident where drivers hit a parking logging truck on the road shoulder which was without any emergency provision. That’s mean that they even not aware on the safety of other drivers, and their hunting for wealthy has course others life.
On the public utilities, we are not surprised on the polluted rivers and its surroundings course by the logging. But we are surprised on the invasion to the water catchment, which is our must daily need. I have no detail comments on this since I do believe that effort being taken by the responsible agencies. I do believed that they have try their very best to tackle this issue.
Other public utility that severely assaulted by the logging activities is public roads. This is even more in the rural area where the enforcements are almost impossible to frequently check on it. Government has pouring billion of RM to construct the roads and another million of RM for maintenance just for the logging company comfortable used. I even wondering either they pay their road tax? The most pity is that the public on their small cars have to suffer on the bad condition of roads. Please bear in mind that most of the car owners have to spend one third of their income to pay their car installments.
Road safety is the most important issue that affects the life of the road users. With now standard Sarawak roads, it is almost impossible to overtake the slow moving overloaded trucks. In some portion, where the slope is extreme, the road users even take in pawn their own life by following the trucks from behind. It is not unusual, as there was an accident involving falling logs onto the innocent vehicles. How much price the wealthy they gains compare to the life of human beings they take. Headache to think of how they think!
As on the Ops Tutup, thumps up to the Government, on my opinion it is a great effort to tackle these problems. Everybody is eyeing on this, and hope that we will ride on comfortable and safer roads soon. Why I have to care, because I am a driver too…
And for the natural beauties, hope that our future children will together enjoy the beauties that we enjoy today. Otherwise like the dinosaurs, we just recognized them in the museums and history books. To talk is easy, to instruct is even easy, and implementation is always not that easy.